Everybody is talking about the weather, whether it will snow again or not. This is only the beginning of March, and the first week came in like a lamb. It started with a snow, but it was a gentle snow that melted the next day. It's going out like a lion. This year I take that to mean snow. I've heard it said the Almanac has predicted this winter accurately so far. And it allows for 3 and a half feet at the end of March. I can't guess what will happen, but I don't think we've seen our last snow. The prediction is for rain tomorrow and next day. I hope it washes away the last pixel of this white ice that still is everywhere. It might cause creeks to rise below the mountains with rain and snow melting at the same time. The ground is so soaked it won't take much more water right away. It's been good, though, the snow/ice taking so long to melt, slowly seeping into the ground raising the water table maybe a little bit. I think of that as the greater concern, so my own inconvenience is less a consideration.
My friend Justin called this evening. I've known Justin since he was 3 and saw his entire life up to now. I was his friend when he was a kid and continue to be as he's an adult in late 20s, a wife, a kid by a former girlfriend, a kid from wife's former marriage, a guy who was Justin's friend who died. Justin married the widow with the kid. He did the right thing too. He married Crystal Billings, a beautiful, super-fine woman with a brilliant mind and a glowing heart. She brought Justin to his senses. With her beside him, he's already picked himself up a good bit and will do well with her by his side.
In a difficult time in his life, a year or so out of high school, everything in his world crazy and upside down spinning. He'd come by here, 'the calm down place' and during that period of time we watched quite a lot of movies together. When he was a kid I'd take him to see Ninja Turtles, Robin Hood, like that. With me was the only time he ever went to movies. His parents didn't go. They liked television. We had good times. Sometimes I think I was a little rough with him, like when we'd throw a baseball, I'd throw them hard to him, because he was playing baseball at school, loved it, was doing well, and I felt like pushing him a little bit, so anything less than the ball burning the palm of hand was easy. He'd get me back by throwing it over my head so I'd have to go chase it down.
Justin came up tough, good at taking it. It's made him tough. Though he's his daddy through and through, the one thing he has that will save him from going the way of his daddy is he's not mean spirited. Justin still has the loving heart of a baby and now has a woman he can love with all his heart. She likes his wild man within, and because she likes that part of Justin, he keeps him under control better than he could if she resisted him. When he married Crystal he moved into the world of love. His mother and father inlaw love him. He's surrounded by love right now and he's doing well. Before I met Crystal, I wondered if she knew what she was doing.
First time I ever saw Crystal was the wedding picture in the paper. I thought, girl, you might have bought yourself something out of your league. But when I got to know her, I see she did not. If he ever puts a gun to her head in an argument, he'd better pull the trigger. He'll never do that. It just came up as an extreme illustration. He's married his match is what I meant it to say. She has a mind as fast and retentive as his. She's helping him direct his mind to his own benefit. There was a period of time when he was like a dog in pain, snapping at anyone who came near. And there was a period of time he got himself into some shit way up above his chin and got a taste of it.
I foresaw a period of anguish for Justin between the ages of 18 and 25 or thereabouts. I even told him in his high school years he'd be spending those years blowing off steam getting his inner steam down to something he can live with. I told him so he could see it coming and recognize it is the natural way things go and understand it. I went through the same myself, but differently, my own way. Justin did it his way. We both survived. In my case, it was thanks to the grace of God. Perhaps in Justin's too. Either way, it was love for each of us that got us both through our own tunnels of madness whole. The love at the end of the tunnel is worth everything it took to get there. Then, all that went before becomes a blessing.
There was a time he was so rowdy I was not much interested in having him around, and certainly not his "friends," none of which was a friend.
I had it in my mind, what I felt was a justified paranoia, that him and his "friends" coming here was setting off alarms at the sheriff's office about that crazy bastard at Air Bellows, we knew he was into a buncha shit. I simply became uneasy and left off any sign of encouragement. Find somebody else to point the law at. Leave me out of it. I'm not into the shit y'all are into and I don't feel like getting arrested for knowing you.
Some years followed the understanding without words and I never heard anything about what Justin was into. Then I saw he was married. Then it turns out I know his mother and father inlaw. When they told me about their love for him, I was heartened that Justin would be all right. He'd fallen into a ring of love, you might say. He has a family that loves him. He's found what he needed. He filled the void that agonized him. I knew Justin had a strong streak of self-preservation, and was happy to see he'd come through his wild man time whole. Even educated. He got a good education.
I'm looking forward to knowing him again. It's a little like when he turned 18. I knew he would expect me to treat him like a man, like an equal, and there'd be no more kid stuff with him. I was with that all the way. And that's how I regarded him from then on. It's an interesting experience to be a friend with someone going through the transition from child to man. It seemed to me like Justin and I were friends whether grownup or kid. Now we're both grownups and now I'm starting to get to know Justin as he's found his way and arrived at himself. I see the heart he had as a child is still with him. A big hearted human being with a wife his heart chose. She's his friend, his sister, his mother, his lover, his support. He's feeling good inside, secure, at home, safe. I'm so glad to see it, it's almost too much to think about and remain dry-eyed.